News Releases

Murray Announces Delivery of Clean-Air, Hybrid Bus Fleet to King County

May 27 2004

Murray Secured $5 Million in Federal Funding for the Innovative Buses

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(SEATTLE, WA) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) today joined with leaders in Seattle as King County took delivery of new hybrid buses that will save fuel and taxpayer dollars while improving transit service and reducing congestion. In a ceremony at Seahawks Stadium, King County took delivery of the first two dozen out of 213 new 60-foot, clean-air hybrid buses.



The buses, which will save the county millions in fuel costs and maintenance, were financed with the help of Senator Murray, who provided $5 million in federal funding in the Fiscal Year 2004 Transportation Appropriations Act, which she helped write as the subcommittee’s highest ranking Democrat. The cost savings generated by the new buses will be put toward increased capacity and service for riders, which will in turn help address the county’s congestion problems.



“While other communities are looking for solutions, King County today becomes the first in the nation to take delivery of a new fleet of high-capacity, 58-passenger, hybrid buses,” Murray said. “We’re taking delivery of new buses that will, in turn, deliver cleaner air, better service, and less congestion – all while saving taxpayers money. These new hybrid buses will dramatically reduce emissions, save us millions of gallons of gasoline, and help our region meet the EPA’s clean air guidelines. Once again, King County is on the cutting edge of new technology that will help our citizens, our environment, and our economy.”



Murray noted that with fuel prices nearing record-highs, the fuel savings associated with the new Hybrid buses are critical. The new Hybrid buses are projected to conserve 750,000 gallons of fuel each year compared to the existing buses used by King County.



In her speech, Murray also commented on the buses' comfort and quality. "This is not your grandfather’s bus. These hybrids are as impressive inside for passengers as they are under the hood for our environment and our economy," she said.



Senator Murray also praised King County Executive Ron Sims’s leadership for deciding to purchase these buses. “Ron Sims should be congratulated on his environmental leadership. The decision to buy clean-air, hybrid buses is an important step toward protecting the area’s environment while reducing traffic congestion,” she said.



Senator Murray's remarks follow:



I’m thrilled to be here with all of you today as we make King County a model for our entire country with these innovative new buses. I serve as the Ranking Member on the Senate’s Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, so I hear about the transportation challenges that communities are facing from coast-to-coast. Like all of us here in Seattle, communities are looking for ways to deal with growing traffic congestion, high energy costs, and new demands for service – all in an environmentally responsible way.



While other communities are looking for solutions, King County today becomes the first in the nation to take delivery of a new fleet of high-capacity, 58 passenger, hybrid buses. We’re taking delivery of new buses that will, in turn, deliver cleaner air, better service, and less congestion – all while saving taxpayers money. These new hybrid buses will dramatically reduce emissions, save us millions of gallons of gasoline, and help our region meet the EPA’s clean air guidelines. Once again, King County is on the cutting edge of new technology that will help our citizens, our environment, and our economy.



This has been a partnership from the start, and I’ve been proud to offer my support at the federal level by securing $5 million in federal funding. This investment will help us do good for the environment, and it will also help us do well by saving taxpayers money, increasing service, and reducing traffic congestion.



Let me say a word about the many ways this investment will help our community. For our environment, these buses are 90 percent cleaner than the buses they are replacing. That means fewer emissions and cleaner air for our region. These buses will also reduce our need for gasoline.



Second, these buses will save taxpayers money. The fuel and maintenance savings alone will save King County an estimated $3.5 million a year.



Third, these buses will help us increase transit service throughout our region. King County plans to reinvest the savings from these buses into expanded transit service.



Finally, these new buses will reduce congestion. Each bus holds 58 passengers. That will make our bus system more efficient and help more passengers get where they need to go.



Because of our partnership, King County is setting a great example for the rest of the country. If America’s nine largest cities all upgraded their transit buses, our country would save 40 million gallons of fuel a year and would keep millions of tons of emissions out of the air. Those are the types of benefits we can produce across the country, and I’m so proud that we’re setting the example today here in King County.



Making smart investments to reduce our dependence on foreign oil just makes sense. As John Kerry said here in Seattle yesterday, we can’t drill our way out. We need to invent our way out. He outlined an innovative energy plan, which invests in hybrid engines like the ones we’re celebrating today.



In the U.S. Senate, I am committed to developing a real energy policy and providing the funding to carry it out. I will keep fighting to make smart investments like this throughout Washington state and throughout the country.



Finally, I just want to add that I had a chance to ride one of these buses, and let me tell you – this is not your grandfather’s bus. These hybrids are as impressive inside for passengers as they are under the hood for our environment and our economy.



So thank you all for working together on this great investment. In particular, Ron Sims should be congratulated on his environmental leadership. The decision to buy clean-air, hybrid buses is an important step toward protecting the area’s environment while reducing traffic congestion. I’m proud to be your partner, and I’m going to continue to support projects like this – that help us do good and do well for our entire community.